Balanced budgets and  red tape reduction

Balanced budgets and red tape reduction

< Back to Articles | Topics: From the President


Patrick Sullivan, President & CEO, Halifax Chamber of Commerce

For those of us that get excited about government policy, it is the most wonderful time of the year. It’s budget month in Nova Scotia. For the Halifax Chamber, it means we have submitted our provincial pre-budget list, outlining our asks and considerations for the fiscal budget. We hope the Finance Minister is hard at work checking our list twice and keeping it in mind as she prepares to present the fiscal budget. We are waiting patiently to see if this will be Nova Scotia’s fourth consecutive balanced budget and whether our asks have been considered.

We framed our pre-budget submission on several issues of focus in our strategic plan which was outlined in February’s Business Voice. We listened to our members’ concerns and voiced those concerns to all levels of government. Our main priorities include:

  • Optimizing the size of government
  • Creating a frictionless business environment
  • Reducing the tax burden
  • Promoting immigration
  • Supporting export development
  • Increasing student retention
  • Increasing entrepreneurship training
  • Promoting the growth of Halifax as a major city

We recognize these aren’t easy asks, but we know these pillars will propel us forward as a city and as a province. If we want to compete on a global scale, we need to improve our place in Canada and the world. And quickly.

One of the areas we are encouraged by is the recent progress report on the province’s work on red tape reduction (you can find it in our policy library at The Chamber is actively involved in providing support and leadership on this work.

To give credit when it’s due, the Government of Nova Scotia committed to reducing the regulatory burden to Nova Scotia business by $25 million (net) by the end of 2018. As of December 31, 2018, approved initiatives where implementation is complete or underway are estimated to reduce the burden to business by more than $34 million —
38 per cent over the target. This achievement is a shining example of government and industry working together to encourage businesses to stay here and continue driving our economy.

Last month, we hosted the Annual State of the Province, presented by NATIONAL Public Relations, with Premier McNeil. We had the opportunity to dive deeper into our members’ concerns with an extended Q&A. At the sold-out event, Premier McNeil addressed many of the issues that we have raised in our communication with the province —
fiscal sustainability, debt reduction, expenditure reduction to set the stage for corporate tax reduction and a long-term economic vision for the province.

The Premier spoke frankly about his vision for the growth of our province and the important role attraction and retention of our skilled workforce plays in the vision. The graduate to opportunity program, for example, has matched 400 students with jobs in Nova Scotia to date!

Take a look at our cover story on page 14 and think about what you’d like to see in the next provincial budget. Let us know what issues are facing your business. We’re in your corner and want to provide support.

To hear more on the provincial budget, you can join us at our luncheon with The Honourable Karen Casey, Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, happening on May 21, 2019.

< Back to Articles | Topics: From the President

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